VALDOSTA, Ga. — A school superintendent in South Georgia has agreed to reimburse the district $2,800 for gasoline he allegedly took from the district’s bus fueling station.
According to video footage obtained through a public records request by The Valdosta Daily Times, Lowndes County School Superintendent Shawn Haralson pumped at least $2,800 of gasoline into the main and auxiliary tanks of his pickup truck between July 13, 2022, and Jan. 8, 2023.
The Lowndes County Board of Education launched a third-party investigation in January after the allegations surfaced, according to the newspaper.
After receiving the findings from the investigator, the school board approved a repayment plan for $2,800 for “undocumented fuel use,” according to WALB-TV. Haralson has not admitted to any wrongdoing and he has not been charged with a crime.
“Outside counsel did not find credible evidence supporting the intentional use of system fuel for personal use by the superintendent, the school district said in a statement. “However, to ensure transparency and utmost fairness to the taxpayers of the LCSD, the Superintendent has offered to reimburse the LSCD for undocumented fuel use by the Superintendent in the amount of $2,800 and the LCSD has agreed to accept the amount stated as appropriate reimbursement.”
Fuel is a reimbursable expense, WALB reported.
“If the fuel in fact was used for school-related or county-related business, then there shouldn’t be a payback,” Jody Allen, a former Lowndes County School employee, told the television station. “So I think it kind of blurs by saying he’s going to pay it back, but there was nothing done wrong. Kind of blurs whether or not something was done inappropriately.”
Haralson and school board Chairman Ronnie Weeks did not respond to the Daily Times’ requests for comment.
Haralson was hired in May 2022 and began in his position on July 1, 2022, according to the newspaper. The Times’ review of Haralson’s employee personnel file did not reveal any reprimands, punitive action or negative comments.